Recently, I was talking to a new member about other networking that was available. He was surprised that I would recommend other networking events, so I explained my theory for a robust networking strategy.
He asked, “How do I know if they are right for me?”
I work on a questioning process:
Do the times of the event work for you?
Do you do work or hope to do work in the area the event is held?
The next part of the assessment happens when you attend the event: How do you feel? I’m a great believer in gut reaction; I think that this reaction is based on our brain drawing from previous experience and comparing it with the current situation. The fact that this process is made in nanoseconds makes people doubt it. My advice? Don’t ignore your gut.
Now you have attended an event and your gut is happy, time for your brain to take over. Consider if you like the format; some people like structure, some don’t. But if you are attending a variety of events, you will experience different structures. Your next thing to think about: are there people in attendance from businesses which have synergy with your business? Talk to them. Then are there people you like the look of? This is not a dating event, but when I attend an event I am attracted to people who are dressed professionally and look interested in being there. I think they are people I would find it easier to work with and get work for.
If you don’t like an event, ask yourself why. Use your brain to analyse why you didn’t like it. If it was the people, don’t attend for a few months and then try again; you’ll almost certainly find new people attending. If there is a committee that leads the event, it might have changed – the organiser may have moved on. Don’t just give up after one attendance. If you don’t like the format, work out how you can make the most of your time there, within the format.
And remember to have fun.
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